It's a promise that's too hard to pass up. Thieves are dialing the phone, and luring their victims with free money. It's a scam making the rounds here in the valley. We have more tonight, in a Contact 13 consumer alert.
"We were rewarded $7,800," says Vivian Glenn.
Sounds like a great deal. But Vivian knew better. As a fulltime caretaker, she's always looking out for Miss. Silvia's well being. And she was suspicious from the start, when someone claiming to be from the government, called the house promising free money.
"I've never heard of any federal government agency who is going to call me up and say hey, you got money," says Vivian.
That was red flag number 1. To get the money, all she had to do was pay a small registration fee. That was red flag number 2. The caller wanted her to wire him $249.
"But you don't pay a registration fee to get money. You don't," says Vivian.
So Vivian started asking questions.
"But when I asked him what department of the federal government he was from, he couldn't answer that," says Vivian.
And that was red flag number 3. But the caller insisted Vivian was a grant winner. He even gave her a confirmation number, telling her to go to Western Union right away.
"And I go, what's this number for? He goes, when you get down there, it's the number you use to claim the money," says Vivian.
But to send the money, he needed some information first. Red flag number 4: he asked for Vivian's name and address.
"If they're asking you for personal information. No. The government doesn't need your personal information. It's the government," says Vivian.
Vivian gave the caller a fake name and address, and then hung up the phone. Then she called Contact 13.
"I feel for the citizens who get caught up in that. Who have been tricked out of they're hard earned money. That's not right," says Vivian.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. Never give your personal information, or send money to someone you don't know. There may be times a scam artist might know your name, or more. Just remember, there's a number of ways someone can get your partial information.
If you've been the target of a recent scam, let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Contact 13, I'm Tricia Kean.